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What Is Anxiety?

Nancy MacGregor MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, Clinical Director

Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about a particular event or something with an uncertain outcome. It is your body’s natural response to stress and is typical in new and unknown situations such as a job interview or moving to a new city.  It is completely normal to experience anxiety throughout your life.

When Does Anxiety Become a Disorder?

When anxiety turns into something that is constant rather than fleeting, and interferes with your everyday life, anxiety becomes a disorder. It may affect how you go about your daily activities and how you would normally do things. It can also interfere with your ability to cope with difficult situations. If you have difficulties going to school or work, leaving the house, or doing things that you usually enjoy, it could be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder.

The Difference Between Typical Anxiety/Worry and an Anxiety Disorder

Typical anxiety includes nerves before a test or worrying about the future. When a big decision is at hand, it’s understandable to be nervous. However, with an anxiety disorder, the nervousness and worry can become all-consuming. Anxiety disorders make it so that the anxiety doesn’t just go away and it can actually increase over time if not properly addressed.

Anxiety disorders can include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, and phobias. There is also obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that have anxiety factors to them.

What are the Symptoms and Causes of an Anxiety Disorder?

While there are multiple types of anxiety, symptoms can include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Shallow and rapid breathing
  • Restlessness and uneasiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping

Everyone may not have the same symptoms, as they can be different for each person. While anxiety can start with your thoughts, it can also present itself physically, especially with anxiety or panic attacks.

An anxiety attack is an extreme feeling of worry, distress, apprehension, or fear. It typically takes a while to build and can become worse with stressful situations. Symptoms of an anxiety attack may include feeling dizzy, dry mouth, sweating, chills, and numbness or tingling. Again, not everyone will experience all of these symptoms.

Many people might think that anxiety attacks and panic attacks are the same thing, but they are different. Panic attacks come on suddenly and are very intense. They also have similar physical symptoms of anxiety attacks. Panic attacks can occur unexpectedly, or they can be brought on by stressors such as phobias.

Seeking Help for Anxiety

It’s possible to overcome your anxiety with anxiety therapy. Anxiety treatment programs look different for everyone and should be tailored to address your specific type of anxiety. It is important to be patient because anxiety treatment can take time, but it will be worth the wait.

Anxiety treatment might include medications prescribed by your doctor to help ease symptoms. Holistic programs such as talk therapy, meditation, and yoga can also be beneficial in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

At Harmony Bay Wellness, we work hard to develop a customized anxiety treatment program that works for you and that you will be able to implement into daily life. With the tools that we provide you during treatment, you’ll be on your way to living more comfortably. Contact us today at 855.765.6399 to learn more about treatment options.

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.